Ahoy there, Matey! Our Pirates page has activities and ideas for swashbuckling fun! If you have other ideas you'd like to see added to this page, use the "Contact" button on the left and send 'em my way matey! This page has activities for each Interest Learning Center.
Let the Theme planning begin!
You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool activities for your theme or click the link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.
I Spy Parrots
Materials needed: white paper, variety of colors of paint and brushes; glue, googly eyes and feathers.
The children paint the paper in bright colors. They squirt glue randomly on paper.
They stick colorful feathers onto the glue.
They glue on 2 googly eyes.
Very creative parrots!!!
Materials needed: paper plates, precut paper eye patches, googly eyes, markers, fabric, glue, crayons
The children glue on one eye and one eyepatch.
They then use fabric or crayons/markers to make a headband on the paper plate.
They add a nose and mouth and print their names!
Show pictures of different flags. Encourage the children to paint their own flag!
In advance, precut headbands with a tall front.
Provide crayons, stickers and stamps. Let the children decorate their headbands to wear this week!
Classroom Treasure Chest
Materials Needed: Cardboard box, construction paper, paint brushes and glue
The children use their hands to tear pieces of construction paper--big and small (no scissors! This is to help develop their hand muscles!)
After you have your "paper tearing" party, provide the children with bowls that have glue in them and paintbrushes.
They brush glue on the box and press the pieces of construction paper on the glue.
Cover the entire box (outside only! not the inside) and cover the lid of the box this way as well.
When dry, brush over the paper with glitter glue (the teachers can do this--it's fun and therapeutic and a great activity to do during a staff meeting!). It is AWESOME and SHINY when dry!
When dry, you will have a BEAUTIFUL treasure box for your classroom!
You can use this in any way you want!
Some things to use this box for:
A holder for your stuffed animals.
A box to place written acts of kindness you notice this week (Pirate Sue helped Matey Joe open his snack).
A storage box for your themed books.
A suggestion box for parents.
Themed Block Center Ideas
Ask parents for plastic ships and boats (Fisher Price has many!) and add them to your block area this week along with little people!
Themed Circle Time Ideas
Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your theme!
Our High Seas Tale
Materials needed: A white board or chart paper
Tell the children that you are all going to make up a pirate story!
Draw a picture of a ship on the board/paper. Say:
Once upon a time, there was a Pirate ship. On the ship there was:
Take it from here! Let each child add items or ideas to your story!
You can make suggestions if they are stuck or get offtrack such as:
What type of animals did the pirates in our stories have? (Parrots). Should we have one? What is it's name? What does it say when it speaks?
Where is our ship going?
What will we find when we get there?
What type of weather are we having on the ocean today?
If someone can record or write down the story and who said what, that would be great! You could then read the story to the children at another circle time on another day!
EXTENSION: If you do write down what each child says, ask them to illustrate it either at the art table or the writing table. This would be a small group activity.
"Cheryl, you said there was a beautiful parrot on the ship who liked to sing. Would you draw me a picture of the parrot?"
Then you print what they said on the bottom of their illustrations.
Put them in the order of the story to make a class book.
If you can, also make color copies of the book--one for each child to take home!
Aye Spy, Matey!
Have a list of items you want the children to find in the classroom. Set them up in pairs (safety in numbers!).
Give the 2 children going first paper towel tubes or binnoculars. Give them a verbal description of what they need to find or a picture (a parrot, a glue stick, whatever).
When they have found it, they come back to Circle and place the items in front of you.
You could have all the pairs search at the same time and then come back.
EXTENSION: Once all items are brought to you, play "What's Missing?" They all hide their eyes, you remove one or two items. They open their eyes and then guess what is missing.
Snack Recipe Ideas to Cook Up for Your Theme!
Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific themed questions while making these fun snacks!
Orange Slice Boats
Help children cut oranges into wedges.
Sit orange, peel side on the table.
Insert a toothpick into the meat of the orange.
Stick a piece of a healthy breakfast bar onto the top of the toothpick for a sail!
Boat Load of Salad!
You will need a large watermelon and a variety of other fruit (oranges, pineapple, strawberry, etc.) and plastic knives.
In advance, cut the watermelon in half lengthwise.
Scoop out the center.
Place different fruits in different bowls.
Let children choose fruits to help cut into smaller chunks.
Assist them in cutting the fruit.
They place the cut fruit into the scooped out watermelon.
You now have a boat load of fruit salad for snack!
Add a large craft stick with a piece of paper on the top with the name of your school!
Themed Ideas to Transform Your Dramatic Play Area
The Hide Out!
Add a large box (refrigerator box or other appliance box) to your dramatic play area. Add a skull and crossbones picture to it. Encourage the kids to decorate the hide out so that others "can't find it"! They can add large leaves that they have cut out or color it to match the walls!
Provide magnifying glasses, eye patches, hats, binoculars and, of course, a treasure chest with treasure in it!
Themed Ideas for your Easel--
More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)
Use feathers to paint with this week!
Themed Large Group Games
that help build their muscles while they have fun together
Walk the Plank
Create an obstacle course for you kids to follow to find a treasure chest! Use your balance beam to "walk the plank"; provide a thin strip of blue fabric for the children to "jump over the water", include areas for them to hop (perhaps they can hop from one paper to the next and each paper has a large letter "X" on it to mark the spot!)--have fun!
You will need: Thin dowel posts (for fishing poles), yarn, magnets to tie onto the end of the yard (thick magnets with holes in the middle), paper clips.
In advance, tie yarn to each dowel post and tie the magnets on the other ends of the yarn. These are great to have for MANY themes so it is well worth taking the time to make and keep all year!
What will the children fish for? Well, that's up to you! Are you working on letters? Numbers? Colors? Plain, old visual discrimination?
Make pictures in fish shapes for what you are working on (print numbers or letters on fish; cut out different colored fish; cut out different themed items--such as a ship, skull and crossbone, pirate hat, parrot, fish, ocean, etc.).
Laminate your pictures. Attach a metal paper clip to each one.
Place pictures on the floor for the children to fish for them (or place them in a wading pool with no water in it!).
Themed Ideas for Your Library and Literacy Activities for your Preschool Classroom
Book Suggestions for the Library
Do Pirates Take Baths? by Kathy Tucker
How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long and David Shannon
I Spy: Treasure Hunt by Scholastic
Pirate Potty by Samantha Berger
Pirate Princess by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Jill McElmurry
Pirates Go To School by Corinne Demas
Roxaboxen by Alice McLarren
Shiver Me Letters by June Sobel
Themed Activities to help your Preschoolers develop those small muscles in their hands!
In advance, collect the small miniature cereal boxes (or other small boxes you may have). Decorate them to look like treasure chests.
Print a different number on the top of the boxes (1-10 or higher depending on where your class is at). Provide gold coins.
Encourage the children to count out the corresponding number of coins into the boxes.
Use your favorite home made playdough recipe. Add black tempera paint and gold glitter for some great playdough!
High Seas Board Games
Make your own simple board game.
Using large paper, add dots or circles in a slightly curvy path on the paper.
Print "Start" at one end and "Finish" at the other end. Perhaps add a picture of a pirate at the Start side and a ship at the end side.
Add instructions that your own students can follow and/or understand.
You might put " + 2 " on a dot (if a student lands there, they move 2 spots more).
Use bingo chips or other items for play pieces.
Provide dice with 1-3 dots on it (or 1-6 would be fine also).
Let the children freely explore the game and make up their own rules to this game!
Materials needed: Egg carton, jewels (colored, glass ones found in craft stores), spoon to scoop a jewel with.
Simply provide these materials and let the children sort, scoop, and place in the cartons as they wish.
The purpose of this activity is not so much to learn counting, but to build up those small muscles by scooping the jewel with the spoon and then turning their wrist to drop it in!
Sometimes we get so caught up in the "academics" of math, that we forget about the muscles required to do some of the writing activities we provide!
Themed Music and Movement Activities and Ideas
to get your Preschoolers Movin' and Groovin'!
Use bandanas as dancing scarves while playing different tempos of music. When you stop the music, the children freeze.
Give instructions if you'd like about "how" to move:
Walk the Plank (walk in a straight line)
Hoist the Sails (wave the bandanas up and down as they squat down and jump up)
Give the children musical instruments to make music together!
Themed Activities for the Senses!
Booty in the Sand!
Add treasure to your sand table! Add play necklaces, seashells, gold coins, rings, etc. Keep the sand a bit moist and add shovels and spoons and a box or two that are decorated like treasure chests to collect the booty in!
High Sea Adventure
Add blue food coloring to the water and small plastic boats, corks, little people and gold coins...you will NOT need to give any instruction!
EXTENSION: On some days, add ice cubes to the water...be careful not to hit the icebergs!
Themed Science Activities--for your Preschool Scientists in Training!
I LOVE discovery bottles---for any and every theme!
For this theme, add sand and theme related items (small plastic parrots, seashells, shiny stones (jewels), bracelets, gold coins, etc.)
The children move the bottles around to find all the items.
EXTENSION: In advance, make a picture list of all the items in the bottles. Laminate the list and provide a low-odor, dry erase marker.
The children them look for each item on the list and check it off as they find it!
Individual Storm Bottles
Collect a small, plastic pop or juice bottle with the cover for each child; vegetable oil, water, blue food coloring, sand, hot glue gun
Help them to fill their bottle half way with water. They add a few drops of blue food coloring.
Add a little bit of sand.
They fill it the rest of the way with vegetable oil.
Add a few beads or glass jewels (or metallic confetti!).
Hot glue the cover on.
The child can make waves with their bottle (by moving it back and forth), or make a storm (shake it and then set it down and watch the layers separate again).
Writing Activity Ideas for Your Preschool Theme!
In advance, paint paper towel tubes (of course, you could have this as an art project! However, make some on your own as well, the children tend to make the tubes pretty soggy when they paint!).
In advance, cut out the bottoms of large, paper (colored) cups so that the paper towel tubes fit in.
Provide markers and crayons for the children to decorate one of each (a tube and a cup).
They insert the tube into the bottom of the cup and, voila! Telescopes for ya, matey! (Go to the Pirates Theme on my Pinterest account to see one example of this! Click on the Pinterest link at the bottom of this page).
Provide small, brown lunch bags. (In advance, cut them open so they are larger).
The children draw their own maps, complete with drawing "X" whereever they want.
They print their name on their map.
Show them how to crumple up and then open up the map to make it look old!
Show them how to roll up their maps as well.
Your children will have too much fun pretending they are following a map around the classroom to find a treasure!